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News for January 26, 2002

Edited by John Stevenson

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Paris-Nice cancelled

There will be no Paris-Nice this year after rescue discussions yesterday broke down between the race's owner Laurent Fignon and the Amaury Sport Organization (ASO), owner of the Tour de France.

Fignon announced on Friday evening that the 2002 edition of the race was "definitely cancelled" after the negotiations, which had previously been reported to be going well, ended when the parties could not reach agreement on the financial details of AMO's rescue of the race.

Fignon said, "I agreed on the sale price, but not the terms of payment. I would have left without a centime, but under the control of the lawyers."

Fignon believes he will be able to resurrect the race in 2003. "I have a solution, but not for this year," said the former racer, winner of the Tour in 83 and 84.

In a statement, ASO said, "In spite of a difficult context and the proximity of the 2002 edition (March 10 to 17), ASO proposed the immediate resumption of the event and offered the price for which Laurent Fignon himself had acquired it in 1999."

"This proposal was not finally accepted by Laurent Fignon."

"ASO regrets not having reached an agreement but respects the decision of Laurent Fignon and hopes that he can find a solution in order to ensure the annual running of Paris-Nice."

ASO director Jean-Marie LeBlanc announced the news of the cancellation of Paris-Nice 2002 to the teams and racers currently competing in the Tour of Qatar. Not surprisingly, the reaction was one of universal disappointment for the loss of one of the highlights of the early season.

Bjarne Riis, directeur sportif of CSC-Tiscali, said, "I am very disappointed that my team will not be able to ride Paris-Nice. Especially for Laurent Jalabert who had made it an objective. It is one of the great events of the season and this changes everything. It is a very significant race before the Classics."

Riis added, "Laurent will be very disappointed. We'll have to find an alternative, without doubt Tirreno-Adriatico."

Jalabert was indeed disappointed, saying, "It was my prime objective of the season. I always feel a little at home in Paris. For me it is a great disappointment, it is a race which is part of our heritage."

Other team managers expressed concern that a season with no Paris-Nice would adversely affect their preparations for later, longer tours and especially the Tour de France. In particular, teams that have no chance of entering Tirreno-Adriatico or the Vuelta Ciclista a Murcia will be severely affected.

"It's as if you wanted to have a football championship with some teams playing more matches than others," is how Marc Madiot, directeur sportif of La Francaise des Jeux put it, adding, "It's bad for everyone."

Even non-French teams believe they will be affected. Telekom was planning to use Paris-Nice to hone the riders who will support Erik Zabel in his attempt to win a fourth Milan-San Remo.

Jean-Rene Bernaudeau, directeur sportif of Bonjour said his team would try to compensate with a training camp, but that is far from ideal.

Jean Pitallier, president of the French Cycling Federation (FFC) said the cancellation of Paris-Nice was "A heavy loss" for French cycling and predicted that French professional cycling would suffer in regard to selection for the Tour de France.

Pitallier expressed sympathy for Laurent Fignon, saying that he understood that Fignon did not want to lose money. He added that the FFC was not involved in the negotiations, and there was not much the federation could do at this level.

Swiss riders injured in another Gold Coast crash

Three riders were injured yesterday in yet another incident involving a collision between a car and cyclists on Australia's Gold Coast, according to a report in the Brisbane Courier-Mail newspaper.

Swiss cyclists Gregor Rast and David Loosli were taken to Tweed District Hospital for treatment for cuts after being flung over the bonnet of the car, but are not reported to be seriously injured. The third rider, Remo Amsler, was knocked off his bike but was unharmed.

The trio had just started a 180km training ride and were riding in a bike lane on Tahiti Ave at Palm Beach when they were hit by the car, driven by an 82 year old man, just after 9am.

"One second later and I think we would all be dead," Amsler said. "We are very lucky."

Credit Agricole lines up

Click for larger image
Sharp-dressed men
Photo: © Dan Schamps

The Credit Agricole team presented its new line-up in Paris yesterday, with former Festina rider Christophe Moreau saying he was happy to be leading a team that was built from "reinforced concrete."

Moreau was reflective about his disastrous 2001 season that saw him wear the yellow jersey early in the Tour de France, only to abandon the race with a broken collarbone. "I went through some painful moment," he said, "but I have turned the page. I am setting out on the race for a new yellow jersey."

To help him, Moreau will have another new signing, French time trial champion Florent Brard. The combination of the two should be a considerable asset for the team, currently ranked 11th in the world with a budget of 5.4 million Euro.

Full 2002 team roster

More pics from the presentation

Thanks to Daniel Schamps for these images

Mapei presents its 2002 squad

Mapei also rolled out its 2002 squad yesterday. For a large selection of images from the presentation, see our latest photos page

Full 2002 team roster

Funding increase for Cycling Ireland

By Shane Stokes

Cycling Ireland has received a significant boost with the announcement of the Irish Sports Council's allocation of funding for 2002. At a reception yesterday in Dublin, it was announced that the ISC would be giving a total of 304,200 Euro to CI this year, a seizable gain over the 262,508 Euro awarded to its predecessor, the ICF, in 2001 and a full 62% bigger than the sum of 188,927 Euro received in 2000.

"It is a big boost for us", said a delighted Ciaran McKenna afterwards. "Most other federations saw a funding drop this year, but we got an increase – it is a sign that the Irish Sports Council believes in what we are doing."

Indeed of the 55 national governing bodies awarded funding yesterday, CI ranks tenth, ahead of such NGB's as The Irish Golfing Union, the Hockey Union of Ireland and Special Olympics Ireland. The federation's Team Ireland initiative also got a special mention in the ISC press release as an example of the noteworthy projects which are coordinated by national governing bodies but funded by the council. Of the 304,200 Euro awarded to CI yesterday, 40,000 Euro is earmarked for the Team Ireland fund this year. This is an increase of 17,500 Euro over last season's figure.

It is thought that Cycling Ireland's strategy document is partly responsible for the increase in funding in 2002. The ISC are known to have been impressed with both the recent advancements in CI and its long-term planning for the future. Relations between the two bodies have also progressed and are far more positive and productive than they were three years ago when funding cuts led to a bitter response from the federation.

"We have worked hard over the past few years," said McKenna, "and the Sports Council has recognized that. Things are starting to fall into place but it is up to us to build on this progress and to continue to move forward."

The Irish Sports Council also announced yesterday that it would be continuing its support for the FBD Milk Ras, including the sponsoring of the jersey for best young rider

Over-training explained

Norwegian Ola Rønsen writes in his doctor's degree dissertation that training twice a day leads to stress for the athlete. He has studied the bodily reactions after two sets of hard training on the same day. The result of the study is that the second effort wears the body more than the first, even if the intensity had been the same.

"One hour in the morning and one in the afternoon is not the same as two hours in a row, and there is no 1+1=3 effect as sometimes believed", the Norwegian told his local paper, Romerikes Blad.

The tests were done by the national teams in speed skating and biathlon. They show that hormone and energy balance are more stressed by the second training of the day. The results are related to the variations in restitution time between the efforts.

"It's all logical, but hasn't been proved before. For these athletes a second training in the afternoon is necessary but it is important to find the right the right balance of restitution and training intensity. The classic case of over training is suddenly easy to explain."

Rønsen was team physician for the Norwegian national cross country ski team some years ago and it was then he noticed the effect of hard training at altitude with a short restitution, due to short days in the winter. "Some participants hit the wall and I started to wonder why", says Rønsen who now is in charge of the health of the Norwegian national alpine ski team for the winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

Lenosky hops on to Giant

Jeff Lenosky, North American Stock Bike Trials Champion and holder of the world bunny hop record at 45.5in/115.5cm, will ride Giant bikes in 2002.

Lenosky is aiming for his third national championship in the discipline of Stock Trials, which involves riding highly technical obstacles on a more-or-less standard 26in-wheeled 'stock' bike rather than a 20in-wheeled 'custom' trials bike.

His schedule for 2002 also includes numerous appearances at special bicycle dealer promotions and major mountain bike events, as well as non-cycling events, ranging from television shows to appearing for four days at the Olympic Village at the Winter Olympics this February.

Seymour off to Italy

By Shane Stokes

After competing in America for much of last season, multiple Irish mountain bike champion Robin Seymour has opted for a European base this year. The Wicklow rider will join his partner Tarja Owens in the Lucca area of Italy, competing in national and international MTB events while she lines out with the twoKtwo road team.

Seymour had a somewhat inconsistent season in 2001, riding strongly in some events but performing below his expectations in others. He is hoping that racing in Italy will enable him to get better results. "The standard and scene is so much better over there", he said. "It will be a challenge to rise to that level but being based in Lucca means that I will be able to train on the road with some professionals and that will help."

The 30 year old is currently in discussions with potential sponsors, although nothing will be finalized until he arrives in Italy next month. Before then, he and Owens will get in some more valuable pre-season kilometers in Gran Canaria on a two week training camp.

Jittery Joe's 2002

The US-based UCI Tier III Jittery Joe's/Choco-Andean Eco-Coffee Pro Cycling Team has announced its roster for this year. Known last year as the Zaxby's, the team from Georgia will continue to be active in both road and mountain bike races.

Jittery Joe's will also be sponsoring a young development team based in the Southeast U.S. These riders are not on the pro roster but will be competing as Cat 1 riders throughout the year.

The principal sponsor, Jittery Joe's is a coffee roasting company based in Athens, Georgia and is joined by The Maquipucuna Foundation - an Ecuadorian non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of Ecuador's biodiversity and the sustainable use of natural resources.

The team is supported by sales of coffee through its website. Your coffee purchase supports not only the team but also The Maquipucuna Foundation.

Jittery Joe's 2002 roster

Road Riders

Dirk Friel (USA)
Mike Ley (USA)
Chris Pic (USA)
Max Finkbeiner (USA) (also MTB)
Luke Stockwell (AUS) (also MTB)
Jesse Lawler (USA)
Jeff Hopkins (Aus)
Bradley Saul (USA)
Jake Rosenbarger (USA)

Female MTB

Rachel Flack ( MTB and Xterra events)
Erin Winter

Pro Duathlete

John Phillips


Saul Raisin (USA)
Daniel Holt (USA)
Phil Southerland (USA)
Dylan Taylor (USA)
Jeff Austin (USA)


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Manager: Thomas Bass
Soigneur: Kim Budde


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